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The Concert: Classical Music Podcasts from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner Musuem

Download free recordings of classical music performed live in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's Tapestry Room. These exclusive recordings from the museum's regular concert series feature performances by acclaimed master musicians and up-and-coming young artists.

You are free to share and reproduce these podcasts, and pass this great classical music along to your friends and family. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum only asks that you let people know where you found it, and don't alter the recording or use it commercially.

Visit the ISGM Music Library to subscribe to free podcasts delivered directly to your computer or mp3 player, or to find individual tracks sorted by musician and composer.

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Join us for two performances celebrating the 250th birthday of music’s most notorious prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. These concerts, recorded live during our Mozart Marathon in January 2006, feature some of our favorite soloists as well as the Gardner Chamber Orchestra, the museum’s resident ensemble. To start, violinist Corey Cerovsek and pianist Jeremy Denk perform Mozart’s delightful violin sonata in E minor. Then, Corey is joined by violist Kim Kashkashian and the Gardner Chamber...
( 3 reviews )
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Mozart, Corey Cerovsek, Jeremy Denk,...
One of the interesting things about Bach, many singers will tell you, is that he likes to use voices like instruments. On the flip side, Bach also sometimes liked to write for instruments in ways that made them sound like voices, as in this week's episode. In Bach's suite, the cellist plays the roles of "soloist" and "orchestra" simultaneously, playing both the long, singing melodic lines and the underlying harmonies. Next on the program is one of Bach's most famous...
( 2 reviews )
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Bach, Gardner Chamber Orchestra,...
This week’s episode is dedicated just one piece: Beethoven’s “Archduke” trio. This piece was named for the Archduke Randolph, a student and friend of Beethoven’s for many years. But many performers and writers note that the evocative “Archduke” title seems to fit the music. The words “noble” and “grand” crop up frequently in descriptions of the piece, which is an expansive 45 minutes long and contains, according the authoritative “New Grove Dictionary”, one of the most...
( 3 reviews )
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Beethoven, Claremont Trio
They say every person on earth is connected by, at most, six degrees of separation. This week in our 14th episode of “The Concert,” we’ll listen to some Vivaldi and Brahms, two composers from totally different times and places who are connected by just one degree of compositional separation—Johann Sebastian Bach. Vivaldi was a very prolific composer, and many of his works were relatively unknown after his lifetime. As Vivaldi became increasingly popular, though, people started to...
( 1 reviews )
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Vivaldi, Brahms, Gardner Chamber...
In this program, we hear two Beethoven pieces for strings and piano: a tuneful early violin sonata and the famous “Ghost Trio,” written 12 years later, and look at Beethoven’s dramatic transformation through the lens of his chamber music works. Violinist Corey Cerovsek, pianist Paavali Jumppanen and the Claremont Trio play Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 12, No. 3 and Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D Major, Op. 70, No. 1 (“Ghost”). Recorded live in the Tapestry...
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Beethoven, Claremont Trio, Corey...
The program begins with another of Schubert's Impromptus for piano, this one in F minor. We then return to the second half of the song cycle “Winterreise,” beginning with the song “Die Post.” In this song, our narrator sees the arriving mailman and hopes, wistfully and maybe foolishly, that he will bring a letter from his beloved. But as the narrator journeys on, his hopes gradually dim, “falling,” he says, “like autumn leaves from a tree.” “I am finished with dreaming,” he...
( 1 reviews )
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Schubert, Seymour Lipkin, Jeremy...
When you hear Chopin’s études, you can tell that he was a virtuosic pianist himself, and intimately familiar with the piano. Études are short but challenging studies meant to stretch the pianist’s technical boundaries and develop his technique. But Chopin’s etudes challenged not only his own playing ability, but also his compositional ingenuity. Chopin wrote the first of these etudes when he was only 19 years old, and they were published when he was just 23. Written for the Parisian...
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Chopin, Cecile Licad
If you've ever taken a beginner piano lesson, you're probably familiar with music for one piano and four hands - or two people. That's what the first piece on our program today is: two pianists on just one piano bench, in this case a husband-and-wife team. But, the repertoire that really took off among modern composers is that for two players and two pianos, as in our second piece this week. With two instruments at his disposal, Rachmaninoff's sound in this piece is much bigger than the...
( 1 reviews )
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Schuber, Rachmaninoff, Robert Levin,...
Johann Sebastian Bach was a prolific composer, who wrote hundreds of works, probably many more than have survived to this day. During the years when he wrote these sonatas, however, he was particularly busy. Bach had just begun a new job in Leipzig, and his time was consumed with writing choral music for four major churches in town. These sonatas for violin and harpsichord are among the few chamber music pieces that survive from this time period. They are particularly notable, though, because...
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Bach, John Gibbons, Corey Cerovsek
We're hoping to ring in the spring in chilly New England with these two charming works perfect for the season. The Gardner Chamber Orchestra, directed by flutist Paula Robison, plays Antonio Vivaldi's Concerto for flute and orchestra in F Major, "con sordino," and violinist Corey Cerovsek and pianist Paavali Jumppanen play Beethoven's Sonata for violin and piano No. 5 in F Major, Op. 24, "Spring." Recorded live in the Tapestry Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum,...
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Gardner Chamber...
The “Kreutzer” Sonata is loved by audiences for its thrilling range of emotions and displays of technical daring. For violinists, though, the piece is extremely difficult. Beethoven was urged to write the piece by English violinist George Bridgetower, and the two played the premiere together. Beethoven was so thrilled with Bridgetower’s playing that he actually ran across the stage to embrace him in between movements in the middle of the concert. Elated with their successful debut,...
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Beethoven, Corey Cerovsek, Paavali...
Generations of writing teachers have passed down the familiar edict: write what you know. In this week’s episode of the concert we’ll hear two composers who heeded that advice. Beethoven made his recital debut as a pianist at just eight years old, and he studied and played the instrument all his life. Being a baroque keyboard player was a bit like being a modern jazz pianist today; you were expected to have a strong foundation in harmony, so that you could improvise variations or play in...
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Beethoven, Mozart, Gleb Ivanov,...
This week, we’ll be listening to two pieces for two very different solo instruments: piano and cello. First on the program, cellist Colin Carr will play one of the six solo suites Bach wrote for the cello. In these pieces, made up of solo melodic lines, harmony still plays a big role. In fact, while you’re listening you may notice your ear filling in notes that aren’t actually played, like connecting the dots on a page. In this suite, Bach gives the listener just enough dots to evoke...
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Bach, Schubert, Colin Carr, Seymour...
Both string quartets featured in this podcast were published as part of a group of six string quartets Mozart dedicated to Haydn, and Haydn’s influence shows. The first quartet on the program, number 16, takes a great deal from Haydn’s string quartets. The first movement begins with a slow, somewhat mysterious, introduction, and moves on to a good-humored romp, full of Haydn’s playful style. The third movement, the minuet, also delights in unexpected hesitations and interruptions. But,...
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Mozart, Borromeo String Quartet
This week, some music of contrast. Beethoven wrote the single movement "Alegretto" piano trio for a ten year old girl from Vienna. He wrote in the dedication that he hoped the piece would bring "encouragement in pianoforte playing." The simple but showy piano part was probably written by Beethoven to allow the young player to shine. The allegretto will be followed by Mozart's G minor string quintet. As we heard a few weeks ago, Mozart's choice to add an extra viola perhaps...
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Beethoven, Mozart, Claremont Trio,...
This week’s program features two chamber music pieces, one with voice and one without, both written late in Schubert’s life, and both inspired by his love of song. “The Shepherd on the Rock” is longer than most of Schubert’s 600 songs, at about fifteen minutes, and in many ways is more like a chamber music piece than a song. The narrator, a shepherd singing of his far away beloved, moves from wistfulness to despair to hope. In the final section, as the narrator sings of faith in the...
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Schubert, Musicians from Marlboro,...
This week, we're featuring two works with great finales, the kind that make audiences jump to their feet, by Vivaldi and Schubert. The rollicking final movement on Vivaldi's concerto clocks in at just under one minute from start to finish, with the whole piece, all three movements, adding up to less than four minutes. Then, Schubert's Sonata in B-flat Major, a sonata that ends with a brilliant coda. The Gardner Chamber Orchestra, directed by flutist Paula Robison, plays Antonio Vivaldi's...
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Vivaldi, Schubert, Paula Robison,...
Because Mozart wrote and played music so well from such an early age, there is a commonly held view that he always composed with extraordinary ease, that his works were the product of a sort of divine inspiration. But scholars now realize that, while Mozart did write extraordinary music, it was not always so simple for him. In the dedication of Mozart’s string quartets, he calls them the “fruits of a long and laborious endeavor.” Characterized by adventurous chromaticism and intricate...
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Mozart, Borromeo String Quartet,...
Chopin and Liszt were two of the greatest pianist/composers of the Romantic era, and both got their start at intimate salons and private soirees, where a pianist would play for the small group gathered. A dazzling technique was particularly prized at these recitals. As the piano itself evolved to be capable of making a bigger sound, pieces written for the instrument increasingly called on the pianist to sound like an entire orchestra, with a range of dynamics, emotions and articulations....
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Chopin, Liszt, Cecile Licad
This week’s program focuses again on Schubert, and his gift for a singing melody. In the first piece, the lyrical melody in the pianist’s right hand is a tune that could easily be the vocal line of one of Schubert’s songs. The left hand devotedly accompanies the tune, providing harmonic support and rhythmic motion. This idea, of a melodic line supported by an evocative piano accompaniment, figures prominently in Schubert’s songs, including the other piece on the program: Winterreise....
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Schubert, Seymour Lipkin, Jeremy...
Bach was a talented keyboard player, performing as an organist in many of his church jobs and playing many other keyboard instruments at concerts and social gatherings. He was quite interested in new developments in keyboard instrument-making, and the birth of the two-manual harpsichord was possibly the inspiration for his Italian Concerto. In the Italian Concerto, Bach simulates the exchanges between solo instruments and the full orchestra using the new double-manual harpsichord. The result,...
Topics: Gardner Museum, museum, podcast, the concert, classical music, Bach, Corey Cerovsek, John Gibbons